The Next Generation of Internet User
The Fine Brothers published a viral hit where kids react to "90s internet." Nearly 8 million viewers (at the time of this posting) have watched teens react to an informational video produced in the waning years of the 20th century. The video in question is undoubtedly cliche, and simplistic... or is it? I would recommend you check out the entirety of this 9 min clip because it brings to light several ideas surrounding an entirely new generation of internet user. Here are some of the things that stood out to me.
- Internet access has become a utility.
- We don't understand how the internet works.
- Our world is profoundly different.
When we enter a room we expect to be able to flip a switch and have light. Likewise, we assume that sinks produce water, and, at the turn of a dial, we can produce heat. These utilities, water, electricity, and gas, are a cornerstone of our modern existence. I believe that the internet has become a fourth anchor in society today. We see kids in this video, born around the year 2000, who can't remember a time where there was no internet. They assume it will be there in the same way we assume that electricity and water will be there. It is a integral part of their work, recreation, and responsibility.
The kids had no idea how the internet worked. Those of us who witnessed the birth of the world wide web remember suffering through various stages of usenets, dial up, or web browsers. These early stages of internet use left many parts of the system exposed and offered an unobstructed look under the hood. Today the internet is a button, an icon, and totally abstract. A time is here where Arther C. Clarke's distinction between technology and magic has become true.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Finally, it is clear that we are living in an entirely different world today. We are in the middle of a societal revolution where the innovative adaptation of the internet has begun to change all things. It is amazing to consider that we are just in the early stages of this change and that the world of tomorrow will look far different than our world today.